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July 31, 2010

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Free bike rentals for green living

Yangpu District has launched a number of programs to promote green living, including free bike rentals, family carbon purchases and education in over 100 schools. Tan Weiyun reports.

Residents of New Jiangwan Town area are now enjoying at least two free hours a day of bicycle rental as part of Yangpu District's efforts to promote green and healthy living.

Since early this month, 100 new bicycles have been available outside the Jiangwan Sports Stadium in a trial project. By punching a card into the machine next to a bike, locals can ride it away.

Citizens aged from 16 to 65 can apply for the service. All that needed is a registration card with ID information and 200 yuan (US$29.50) as deposit. The first two hours are free and every additional hour costs 1 yuan. Bikes can be rented and returned at any time.

"You can rent a bike many times during a day. If you remember to return it within two hours, it is actually free," says a staff worker in the Jiangwan Sports Stadium rental station.

"The 1 yuan charge is just to prevent malicious renting."

Three bike rental stations have been set up in the New Jiangwan Town area, on Daxue Road and at the junction of Songhu and Zhengli roads.

More rental stations are to be opened around residential areas and public facilities in the Wujiaochang commercial hub if this trial is successful.

Each bike is equipped with a "smart" system that automatically reports bike breakdown or accidents.

"Riding bike is not only environmentally friendly but also improves the efficiency greatly for short distance, which saves lots of time waiting for the bus," says local Wang Dawei.

In addition to the bike rental service, Yangpu District has launched a "carbon purchasing project" to promote low-carbon living.

Six local families are the first batch of volunteers to purchase their annual carbon emissions with the yearly fee of 20 yuan.

"An ordinary three-person family can emit around one ton of carbon a year," says Lin Jian, general manager of Shanghai Environment and Energy Trading Center.

"To buy the emissions they generate during the year actually has been an increasingly popular practice in some Western countries. It reminds people of the importance of saving energy."

All the money will be donated to environmentally friendly projects.

"The more families join, the more support we can dedicate to energy saving," Lin says.

The official website provides an exchange platform for locals to get involved into the project. The website contains a calculator, which can help count a family's carbon emissions.

During the past several years, the district's environmental protection bureau and the education bureau have been working jointly to promote a "green life" concept in more than 100 schools in the district.

Eight schools have won "Green Model" awards for their active participation in the eco-education. In addition, six neighborhoods in the New Jiangwan Town area are honored as "Green Residential Areas" this year.

Bike rental service

Address: No. 127 booth, Jiangwan Sports Stadium

Tel: 3381-0286


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